OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The legacy left behind by seven year old Sophia Myers is about to last forever. Her parents, Angel Myers McIlrath and Josh Myers are creating a foundation in honor of the little girl who died last year of a rare brain tumor called DIPG.
The So So Strong Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation announcement will take place on Thursday night from 6 to 8 p.m. at Little Children's Park in Ocean Springs.
Memories of Sophia Myers are everywhere in Ocean Springs. There is a bench named for her at Little Children's Park, and another at her school, Oak Park Elementary. There is even a banner on the city marquee about the new foundation.
Her parents are on a mission. Sophia's mother, Angel Myers McIlrath, said, "We have to make what happened matter. We have to make a difference. We were helpless the whole time that we had Sophia and we were fighting it. There was nothing that we could do. So now's the time to do something so that other families don't experience what we did."
What better place to unveil the foundation than the park.
"She loved this place. She spent a lot of time here. We've had two or three of her birthday parties here. This is just one of Sophia's favorite spots. She swang on these swings. She played in the pond down there. She would catch tadpoles," Angel recalled.
Work on creating the foundation has helped ease the pain of loss. "I think it's part of the healing process. There is still that need to take care of Sophia, there's still that need to be a mother to her. She's not here for me to do it, so that energy is being directed into honoring her. That will help other kids too," Angel explained.
Money raised will be used in several ways. She noted, "We want to fund research. We need a cure, we need an immediate treatment that prolongs these children's lives and gives them a quality of life until a cure can be found."
The parents are not alone in this quest. "The community has embraced Sophia and our family and what we have gone through in ways that there aren't really words to describe." said Angel. "I get messages, hundreds of messages each week from people from all over the world that want to help. There's a way that everybody can help. You don't have to be right here to help with the foundation."